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Beloved Wadena veterinarian passes

Dr. Warren Hartman played the trombone as the Wadena Community Band, a group he helped organize, performed a number for the Empty Stocking Program's talent show Dec. 8 at Memorial Auditorium.

Dr. Warren Hartman Jr. was one of Wadena's native sons.

Hartman died Feb. 9 at Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis but his heart and soul belonged to the local community.

The 79-year-old Hartman was still operating the Southbrook Veterinary Hospital in Wadena at the time of his death. His love for animals began as a boy when his father, Warren Hartman Sr., became active in harness racing and had his son help him take care of their horses.

After graduating from Wadena High School in 1949, Hartman attended the University of Minnesota where he receive his degree in veterinary medicine.

Wayne Uberto proudly called Hartman "my vet." Uberto ran a dairy farm near Hewitt for many years and always called on Hartman first whenever he needed vet service.

"We got to see him a lot sometimes," Uberto said.

Uberto recalls that Hartman was the kind of vet that would treat an animal and often call a couple hours later to check on their condition.

Hartman had a special fondness for horses. He eventually kept a stable of his own.

Hartman's passions also included music and scouting.

Uberto, a talented musician who traveled the world with the U.S. Air Force Band during his service days, formed a band of his own and asked Hartman to add his trombone talents to the group.

Uberto recalls the time that his band was hired to play for a wedding dance in the Nevis area.

"We had played a job in Verndale that afternoon and the wedding dance was in the evening," Uberto recalled. "We all drove our own individual vehicles. Warren took off and boy, we thought for sure he was going to get us there in no time at all."

It seemed like the smart play to follow a veterinarian who traveled the country roads on a daily basis.

"He went to places that you didn't know were on this planet," Uberto said.

About five members of the band were cruising along behind Hartman when all of a sudden his tail lights disappeared in a sea of dust. By the time they reached the dance their cars were covered with dirt and they were choking on the dust.

Uberto found several members of his band waiting for them. They had driven up U.S. Highway 71, the long way, and still reached the dance ahead of Hartman and his followers.

"When we got up there I said to him, 'by golly Warren those shortcuts didn't work out for us did they?'" Uberto said.

Hartman, who was coughing on dust of his own, simply replied, "The last time I was on it, it was a good road."

Uberto considered Hartman a good trombone player who read music very well.

"You'd put the music in front of him and he'd get it done," Uberto said.

Frank Yetter was one of Hartman's lifelong friends. Yetter, who graduated a few years behind Hartman, remembered him as a good student and a good musician in school.

"He had a great sense of humor and he was a great friend and a great veterinarian," Yetter said.

Yetter also knew about Hartman's love for scouting. Hartman was a Boy Scout himself and later became chairman of the Eagle Review Board in Wadena. He served as president of the Central Minnesota Boy Scouts Council and also served on their board.

Fellow Eagle Board member Don Simmons remembers Hartman, who never made Eagle scout, earning the prestigious Silver Beaver award, the highest honor the Boy Scouts could give to an adult.

Doug Carlstrom had 18 scouts earn the Eagle badge in his 14 years as scoutmaster.

"He (Hartman) made sure it was going to be a meaningful project," Carlstrom said.

Hartman's funeral service will be Saturday at First Congregational Church in Wadena. Memorials are preferred to the Wadena County Humane Society, the Central Minnesota Boy Scouts Council or the Wadena Area

Community Band.